Not even 2 months ago it was Christmas, and here we are as soon as the Christmas decorations came down pressure starts building for Valentine’s and as it approaches those heart-shaped boxes of chocolates start appearing everywhere in stores and ads for jewellery start running on TV and billboards.
If this is not pressure I don’t know what is!!!!! If you have a partner you’re supposed to make a ‘big deal’ of February 14. If you’re happily (or unhappily) single, you’re not off the hook. There are cards to send to your parents and siblings and best friend and even your dog. It is after all showing love to those close to your heart.
There’s no way around it. It’s in the air and if you don’t buy something red and heart-shaped for someone, you’re going to hurt someone’s feelings and contribute to the fall of the economy!!!. Still here you’d better get busy shopping.
Make no mistake – V.Day is a yet another big business day. According to CNN, Valentine’s Day sales will reach $18.6 billion this year (OMG). That means people will spend an average of $130.97 per person. (some will spend much more and others much less.). 145 million Valentine cards will be sold. $4.4 billion will be spent on diamonds, gold and silver!!!! Peer pressure or what????
Yes as much as it’s wonderful to have one day a year set aside to celebrate love, to do something special for those we most cherish and to feel cherished by someone who cares enough to send the very best. But what’s good for the cash registers in card, candy and gift isn’t necessarily good for a relationship.
In this matter let’s make a run through of what I think will make February 14 a good day.
Expectations for the day and pressure to be more in love, more romantic or further along in a relationship than they are can derail a couple’s relationship, not enhance it. How can you and your sweetheart get through February 14 with your wallet and your relationship intact? First and foremost make sure you are on the same page about what you expect. We are as happy or as disappointed as our reality matches our expectations. If your lady expects jewellery and he turns up with a box of chocolates, she’ll feel let down. Ditto if he expects she’ll make a fancy dinner and she suggests takeout.
Furthermore, surprises aren’t always as successful as we’d like them to be. They can be overwhelming or out of step with the other person’s idea of the stage of the relationship. For instance if your man shows up with diamonds (gosh!) when you think you are at the card stage, both will be embarrassed and uncomfortable. It’s equally true if your women puts on a fancy dinner and you show up in sweatpants and without having shaved (all hell will break loose!). Therefore, in order to prevent the heartbreak of disappointment or a serious misstep on what is supposed to be the day of love, have a clear conversation ahead of time about what you would both feel is appropriate to honour the day.
2. Match your expectations to the stage of the relationship.
The card companies and the jewellery stores would like us all to do the day up big. But truth be told a relationship that has just begun is different than a relationship that is in full bloom, and that much more different than long-time married type of love. Please go back to no. 1 and make sure you both have the same idea and make sure you are both in the stage of your relationship hence making sure of how it should be celebrated?
3. Match your expectations to your budget.
Love isn’t measured in how much you spend (as much as we love expensive gifts). It’s measured in thoughtfulness, tenderness, and a bit of romance. One special flower can mean as much as two dozen long-stemmed roses. One perfect chocolate from the chocolate store can be just as special as a heart-shaped box. If you both want a big, expensive night on the town and can afford it, well, why not? But if either one of you would find that embarrassing, wasteful, or overwhelming, maybe you should rethink the idea.
4. Don’t expect your partner to be different just because it is Valentine’s Day.
Today’s reality shows and store displays seem to imply that everyone believes that romance means hearts and flowers and mushy romance on February 14. It is time to face the fact, that some people simply aren’t romantic that way. It is know that some people even manage to forget, despite all the store displays, that February 14 is Valentine’s Day.
If you’re with someone who just doesn’t get it – and especially if you do – do not take it personal. It may be that your guy or gal is preoccupied, has bad memories associated with the day, or doesn’t philosophically go along with a holiday that was man-made big by mostly the card companies. To prevent hard feelings or a fight, please take care of yourself and go back to no. 1. (P.S.: If “forgetting” the day is personal, do take care of yourself and rethink the relationship.)
5. Please, please, please don’t, don’t, don’t propose on Valentine’s Day unless you are absolutely sure of a “yes.”
Just think about for a minute here ff you get a “no,” or even an “I’ll think about it” every Valentine’s Day for the rest of your life will be clouded by the memory of hurt and disappointment. (Have I mentioned that you should go back to no. 1?)
6. Focus on the love, not the “shoulds” that are in the cultural atmosphere.
There are lots of ways that people show their love. Some people are creative and capable of flamboyant surprises. Others are quieter and express their affection in simpler ways. There is no right way to observe Valentine’s Day. There is no right way to show love. What matters on February 14, and indeed every day of your relationship, is that you feel loved, respected, cherished and cared about by someone whom you love, respect, cherish and care about. So talk it over with your beloved. Make something happen – together – that is as personal and loving as your relationship can get.
Until next time